Getting Out, and Our Value Outside of the Golf Business

by Brian Dobak
July 4, 2012

As we discussed a few articles ago, a Head Professional position is not for everyone. The environment is extremely competitive and very few assistant professionals ever make it to a Head Professional position. For many assistants, getting out of the business entirely is a reality. But the good thing about it, is that there is nothing wrong with that. Our experiences as a golf professional are extremely valuable outside of the golf business. Here's why...

I have a friend who got out of the golf business some time ago, and he would tell me how he could not get a job because the stigma that was being placed on his experiences as a golf professional. The employers thought all he did was stand around and watch TV in the golf shop and/or play golf all day. The employers could not get past that. They weren't seeing how his experiences as a golf professional could be of value to them. When he dug deeper into his experiences and marketed them differently to employers, success came quickly. The following is the gist of what he came up with:

Customer Service

He explained that as a golf professional, on any given year, he conversed with and served between 3,000 and 3,500 people. Of those, at any given club he worked, 500 to 1,000 of them were members of the club. Each one of them, regardless if they were a member or a guest, he served them to a high degree, making their experience the best it could possibly be and making sure they left wanting more. He explained to the employers that he knows all about customer service and client relations.

Revenue Generation

He explained how he used the marketing skills he acquired in a marketing internship at a golf course ownership company in college, and how he was able to grow participation anywhere from 120% to 400% in the Senior and Women's leagues at this club, the men's league at that club, and the junior program at this club. 

He also explained how he played a pivotal role in increasing the golf shop merchandising revenue in one of his experiences. Through his college education, marketing experience, and his self taught knowledge of merchandising best practices, he was able to increase gross revenue from $325,000 to $950,000 in a matter of 3 seasons. Are these numbers on the level of a multi-million dollar company and the revenue they are seeking to generate? No. But he explained to the employers that there was no reason why he couldn't do the same in an environment outside the golf business. 

Budget Cutbacks

He explained in detail about how, in late 2008 when the economy crashed, he was heavily involved in strategically cutting back golf operations expenses, and building a system that would alleviate the affects the cutbacks would have on the members of the club. He explained to them how he kept the clubs operations above water as they were able to withstand the impact that the economy had on it's business. Most importantly, the board members of the club and most members raved about how they were able to accomplish what they accomplished based on the cutbacks.  

Leadership & Management

During the crash, some payroll had to be cut and because of a few less staff members, employee morale dipped. He explained to employers how he was able to motivate staff and lead them towards a common goal, no matter the situation, and maintain performance and service at a high level.

Character & Enthusiasm

He explained how he owes much of his success to his enthusiasm for life and to the character he has cultivated from within the golf business. He explained how character and enthusiasm translate positively in any station in life and any career path, and that there was no reason that he didn't expect similar success if given the opportunity to work for the company.

As you can see, YOU ARE VALUABLE. To think that there is no value in your experiences as golf professional outside of the golf business, and to not have confidence in the daily education you have received on the job, is ludicrous. There should exist very few reasons for a company to not want to hire a golf professional, it's just a matter of how you tell your story, paint the picture of your experiences, and market your abilities in a way that grabs a hold of them. A Head Professional job is not for everyone, the golf business in general is not for everyone, and there is nothing wrong with that. There is something for you, and there may not be a better training ground than a stint as a golf professional. Really dig deep and study what you have accomplished as a golf professional, and identify how it translates outside of the golf business if you are thinking about getting out.